why do we have to pay federal income tax

Every around April 15, you'll hear adults of all ages groan about Бtax day. " That's because
and state tax forms are due around that time. But have you ever wondered why you have to pay taxes? In the United States, we have governments at the local, state and national ( ) levels. These governments have various parts to them, including legislators (who make laws), executives (who enforce laws), and many others. The money these government workers receive to do their jobs comes from taxes. Taxes take many forms, too. When you work at a to make, you pay taxes. Depending on how much money you make, a certain (part) of the money you make is (kept out of your paycheck and sent to the government). When you buy things at a store, you also usually pay sales tax, which is a of the cost of the item charged by the store. If you own, you also pay taxes on the value of your. Paying your taxes is considered a, although doing so is also a requirement of the law. If you do not pay your taxes, the government agency that oversees taxes Б the Internal Service or IRS Б will require you to pay your taxes or else face penalties, such as fines or going to jail.


The money you pay in taxes goes to many places. In addition to paying the salaries of government workers, your tax dollars also help to support common resources, such as and. Tax money helps to ensure the you travel on are safe and well-maintained. Taxes fund public libraries and parks. Taxes are also used to fund many types of government programs that help the poor and less, as well as many schools! Each when Бtax day" rolls around, adults of all ages must report their to the IRS, using special tax forms. There are many, many laws that set forth complicated rules about how much tax is owed and what kinds of special expenses can be used (Бwritten off") to lower the amount of taxes you need to pay. For the average worker, tax money has been from paychecks throughout the. On Бtax day," each worker reports his or her and expenses to the IRS. Employers also report to the IRS how much they paid each worker. The IRS compares all these numbers to make sure that each person pays the correct amount of taxes. If you haven't had enough tax money from your checks throughout the to cover the amount of tax you owe, you will have to send more money (Бpay in") to the government.


If, however, too much tax money was from your paychecks, you will receive a check (get a Б ") from the government. Last month, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released (PDF). The IRS advises that [a]nyone who contemplates arguing on legal grounds against [paying taxes] should first read the 80-page document. Wikipedia, as does. There s hardly a constitutional amendment, law, or supposition that hasn t been used in an attempt to prove that income tax collection is invalid. As a constitutional lawyer who works for a tax policy organization, I m often asked whether the Sixteenth Amendment was properly ratified or (often more rudely) to show where the law is that requires people to pay income taxes. I find these arguments, like most constitutional law discussions, interesting. But ultimately the truth is that the Secretary of State on February 25, 1913, imposes tax on taxable income, defines taxable income as gross income minus allowed deductions, defines gross income as all income from whatever source derived, and requires the filing of returns by every individual with gross income for the year (with some exceptions). have upheld the federal government s power to collect income taxes against just about every argument.


Judges have little tolerance for tax protestors, particularly ones who convince other people not to pay taxes while being deceptive about the enormous legal consequences. Adherents who practiced what they preached are in jail for tax evasion, many for dramatically hefty sentences. And while the IRS may be less sinister than it was a few years ago, there s no doubting their willingness to use enormous power against individuals to collect tax revenue. As I tell people, the current federal income tax has a lot of problems. We at the Tax Foundation are no stranger to its complexity, favoritism, non-transparency, and the burden it imposes on the economy. But claiming that the tax doesn t actually legally exist hasn t been a productive avenue. Since our founding in 1937, we ve had hundreds of brilliant economists, lawyers, accountants, and policy analysts here, and they all paid their income taxes. If there was a way out, one of them would have found it.

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